'Hezbollah has turned you into a sacrificial lamb,' Israel warns Syrian regime

'Hezbollah has turned you into a sacrificial lamb,' Israel warns Syrian regime
Warning leaflets were dropped over a Syrian town bordering Israeli-occupied territory on Monday, warning the regime against working with Iran-backed armed factions.
3 min read
24 April, 2023
Hader sits in a territory observed by the UN separating Syria from the illegally Israeli-controlled Golan Heights [Getty/archive]

Israeli planes dropped warning leaflets on southern Syria on Monday hours after reportedly shelling pro-Iranian groups in the same region.

Flyers were dropped over the town of Hader in Quneitra province, close to a UN armistice line separating Syria from the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.

The leaflets warned the Syrian regime against cooperating with Lebanon's powerful Iran-backed Shia Hezbollah militant group, which has a strong presence in Syria.

"We are closely monitoring and aware of the ongoing intelligence cooperation with Hezbollah within the Syrian army's positions in the region, including near the Israeli border strip," the text on the leaflets read.

"Your cooperation with Hezbollah has turned you into a sacrificial lamb and brought you more harm than good. Cooperation with Hezbollah leads to damage!"

The leaflets included images of what Israel said was the Syrian regime's head of military intelligence, Maj Gen. Samer al-Dana, alongside commander of Hezbollah's intelligence apparatus in Syria, Tareq Maher.

Early on Monday, Israeli ground forces bombarded a location on the outskirts of Quneitra where fighters from the Syrian Resistance to Liberate the Golan are located, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported.

Syrian state media did not report the bombardment and no casualties were reported, but two local media outlets close to the regime reported an "Israeli aggression" that targeted the outskirts of Quneitra, a city which was laregely abandoned in 1967, when Israel captured parts of the occupied Syrian Golan Heights.

The shelling came days after a similar attack on 18 April, when Israeli forces bombed positions in the Quneitra countryside targeting areas where Iran-linked groups are present.

The Syrian Resistance to Liberate the Golan – a Hezbollah-linked group - was formed to launch attacks in the Golan Heights, which Israeli seized during the Six Day war in 1967.

Israel has repeatedly warned against the growing number of Iran-backed militants along its frontier with Syria, saying it will not allow its arch-foe to extend its footprint in the war-torn country.

It has launched hundreds of airstrikes on Syria during the latter’s 12-year conflict, primarily targeting Iran-backed forces, Hezbollah fighters, and Syrian regime positions.

The Syrian regime has relied on Hezbollah and Iranian militias to battle Syrian rebels during the war.

Iran is believed to have flown thousands of fighters into Syria during the war, while Hezbollah has played a key role in regime offensives to regain rebel-controlled territories.